Bring on the Bling

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Prague, part 2!

Kiel was sad to see us go. Seriously, it only rained about 5 times the entire time we were in Germany...2 of those days being the last 2 games of the World Cup, our last Sunday, and another random day of a "last." After our farewell dinner/banquet, Andrew and I raced home to finish packing and got ready for our adventure. We had to take a train from Kiel to Hamburg in order to catch our sleeper train. I was a little worried that we would miss the sleeper, but we had plenty of time to explore the Hamburg Hbf. 

Random pig over a restaurant in Hamburg...weird

My top bunk for the night...praying the train doesn't have to make any sudden stops!

Arriving in Prague and trying to find the hotel...
Okay, so funny story: Andrew didn't really know anything about Prague before we got here. In order to expand his mind, he pulled up an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" about Prague. We watched it all in our hotel room. There was a clip where Anthony was eating at a food stand and ate a fried cheese sandwich. Oh. My. Goodness. Andrew looked at me and said "we're going to find this!" He grabbed a piece of paper, just in case they told us where it was. No such luck. We both started Googling the episode and finally found it! It was a little stand in Wenceslas Square. I found the Metro stop, and we were off! Fortunately, the sandwich didn't disappoint him. I settled for an Old Prague Sausage that was hanging in the window.

Wenceslas Square
Prague has a lovely little transit pass called the Tourist pass, which allows unlimited access to all modes of transit for 72 hours. Perfect! We took full advantage and made it to the city center. We walked around a bit after, finding Old Town and retracing some places that I explored on my last visit to Prague. I had totally forgotten about this little gem:
"Art" - das ist Kunst!!
On the boat tour
After walking around for a while, we passed a sign that was advertising hour-long boat tours up and down the Vltala River. We bought our tickets and waited under a bridge for our cruise. In the shade. Because it was hot. Yup. So we got on our cruise and ordered some huge waters, just enjoying the ride. By the end of it, both of us were falling asleep. Well, at least I was. We decided to head back and take a quick nap at the hotel, then head back out. That would have been awesome, except I fell asleep and woke up at 11pm, only to ask what time it was, apologize, and then fall right back asleep. Oops. I guess I needed it because I didn't wake up again until 4am, then again at 8.

Saturday's agenda included getting to the Prague Castle and Strahov Monastery. We were able to take 2 Metro lines and a street car up to the Monastery, only to find out that they were out to lunch. I love it! We found this little pub up the street and out of the tourist area. It was like eating a home-cooked meal! We were introduced to a Czech specialty: Kofola, which is their take on Cola, using 24 herbs. It was actually pretty good!

Cheers with our Kofola!
The Strahov Monastery was something that I had seen on Pinterest and was super excited to try to see in person. The library is pretty famous, having been used as a backdrop in a few major Hollywood films. It was exquisite! Tourists have to buy a pass to take photos, and even then you can't use a flash. It was so awesome!

Prague Castle (taken from Google)

Couldn't believe I was here!!

The stained glass of St. Vitus Cathedral

They didn't answer...

The view from the castle was breathtaking!
Like a postcard...
Another thing that I had put off for this trip to Prague was crossing the St. Charles Bridge. On my bike tour last time, we went up next to it and talked about it, but never crossed it. I needed to check that off of my list, so we headed over after the castle. The statues that flank the bridge are pretty cool, as are the gates at either end. However, there were WAY too many tourists. I'm sure it would have been a better experience late at night or early in the morning. Oh well. It's done.

Getting ready to cross the St. Charles' Bridge!
St. Charles' Bridge (taken from Google)
Apparently it's good luck to rub the dog...?
Way too many tourists! So grateful for my PacSafe bag!
I loved walking down these streets. So beautiful no matter which way you go!

Tower at the end of the bridge
After exploring for a while, we decided to head back to the hotel to rest and NOT FALL ASLEEP THIS TIME, as Andrew reminded me. Oops. We plugged into the wifi and got lost in cyberland for a few hours. Andrew turned on the TV to see what was on...and he ended up on the channel that was playing The Big Bang Theory. In German. While we were in Prague. Hmm. Anyway, we jumped back on the Metro and headed for Old Town and just wandered around a bit.

The longest escalator ride ever...Andrew clocked it at 74 seconds from top to bottom!
Sunday morning I decided to head over to Olomouc, a small city about 2.5 hours east of Prague by train. Nikki told me that this was her favorite place to go, so I just HAD to check it out! I went to the train station and found out that a round trip ticket was only about $19 USD. DONE! I was able to relax and write a few postcards on the train. Although I don't speak a word of Czech, some words have actually taken on some I now know what words mean "next stop" and a few others related to trains. Sheldon would be proud.

When I got in to the Olomouc station, it hit me that I probably should have looked up a map or something before I got there. Oops. No worries...I just flashed back to my visit to Oswiecim. It took me a second to find the ticket machines for the public transit. There was no English option, so I guessed on which ticket was a day pass. I swear, those tickets are wonderful. Stress free and if I get lost or take the wrong bus/streetcar, I can just hop back on another one! I found the streetcar that took me to the Old Town and I headed off! Nikki gave me a list of places to do, food to try, and adventures to live. So grateful because I followed it to the T!
My "lunch" at Cafe 87...famous for their chocolate pie!
Staircase was in the round tower, then I climbed into the square one and was on top!
Spent some time at the top of St. Maurice's church 
View from the top
The exit onto the roof...a little scary in the wind...
Not all of the lights worked... 
Double helix staircase

St. Wenceslas Cathedral

Such a cute little town!
Random homeless guy playing REALLY GOOD classical music!
I never get tired of seeing all of the beautiful organs! 
Climbed up to the bell tower in St. Michael's church...nervous since it was close to the hour!

Tight corners all around...

Every street was like a movie scene!
Holy Trinity Column
Some of the most impressive stained glass in the churches...this one was my favorite in St. Maurice's church
When I finally made it back to Prague, I wasted no time jumping in the shower and downloading pictures. It was such a great day! Andrew came back right after and was so excited to see my pictures. It was so much fun reliving the day all over again! I started to blog when something exciting happened: the fire alarm went off. Always wonderful. It was so loud, I could feel my pulse in my ears. Ugh. We walked down the 10 flights of stairs and realized that it was just our floor. Apparently some idiot was smoking. Grr. And the hostel only has 1 elevator, which is super slow. Wonderful. We finally got back into bed and fell asleep.

The next morning, we woke up to rain. I'm sensing a pattern...Europe just doesn't want me to leave it ever! Something to think about...

We decided to head out to get some lunch. Well, it took us a lot longer than I am letting on. We had to clean up our room and repack, which is always an adventure. We just accumulate so much stuff! And let's be honest...dirty laundry is never easy to pack! We sat downstairs in the lobby for a while, trying to figure out what to do. It was raining and neither of us really wanted to be hauling our stuff around while sight-seeing. Plus, we'd already seen and done everything that we wanted, plus more. I suggested going to the first restaurant that I ate at in Europe: Hastalsky Dedek. We made it there and found that they had Kofola on tap. I've rarely seen Andrew so excited, so we just HAD to get it! And the food was so good...just as I remembered!
Andrew posing with his drink and...yeah, I lost it when he played "paparazzi..."
After sitting in the restaurant for a while, we headed out to take the Metro to the last stop where Andrew could catch the bus for the airport. When we boarded the Metro, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few "familiar" faces. Missionaries! We chatted with them a bit (it was transfer day) and I just HAD to get a picture with them (haha Wendy...I remembered Alex and her friend!).

After dropping Andrew off in the rain, I headed back to the main train station to wait for my bus. After hours of waiting (literally), I boarded the bus and took off for Munich! The bus was huge and had free wi-fi, so I was able to text some friends. The Czech countryside is so majestic at sunset! I was sitting on the top level of the double-decker bus and had a beautiful view. I was able to watch the sun set and then the moon rise, passing fields, quaint villages, castles, and then finally crossed back into Deutschland...where I start my next journey...

1 comment :

  1. Yay! So glad you made it to Olomouc! Keep livin' the dream man.